Finally, summer is coming to an end and as we press forward into autumn. Autumn to me brings a special kind of air and abundance unlike any other time of the year. I may be biased because my birthday is in September but one can't help but enjoy the change of seasons. With the daylight growing shorter and rainfall coming more frequently here in central Virginia, it is the perfect place for mushroom growth.
I have never really had a mycophobia (fears of mushrooms). I grew up eating them and admiring them at the playground. So it is to no one's surprise in my inner circle my love for them. When I started my vegan journey, I was introduced to more than just the baby portobella mushrooms we see mainly on supreme pizzas. I learned that I can make all kinds of meaty substitutes with Oyster Mushrooms to Maittake to Beech. The one I most recently have fallen in love with are Chanterelle.
Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) are some of the most delicious mushrooms you can eat for they have a delightful aroma and taste to them. They typically are between 2-5 inches in size, in the shape of a trumpet with wavy edges and grow from the ground. If you don't know, mushrooms that we eat are simply the fruiting body of the mycelium. Meaning that mycelium is like this underground webbing kind of like a tree trunk with roots and the mushrooms we eat are like eating an apple off a tree. So clusters of mushrooms are not necessarily individuals but all come from the same mycelium in that area. Oh and mushrooms are not vegetables, they are in the fungal kingdom so they are kind of in between the kingdoms of plants and animals.
My partner and I have been exploring trails nearby and spotted some mushrooms growing all over. So I took some photos and went home to identify them. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to discover these delicacies. Later that week we returned with a bag and our pocket knifes ready to forage.
Here we were able to first find some Black Trumpet Chanterelle - "Trumpet of Death" - (Craterellus cornucopioides) and then later some Orange Chanterelle.
We honestly got lucky and had a super successful harvest for our first time foraging! We then brought them home, washed thoroughly, took some weight and height measurements, and cooked them up to do a taste test. I only cooked them for a few minutes in some vegan butter to get a true feel for their flavor. 10/10!!!!!!!!!
I then decided I wanted to make a proper dish out of our little treasures and cooked up a quick, creamy pasta dish. I don't have some fancy elaborate recipe to provide but I will give you the basis so you can experiment in your own kitchen.
Creamy Chanterelle Pasta
~Pasta (used Gemelli for fun)
~Vegan Alfredo (I used Simple Truth)
~Cleaned Chanterelle Mushrooms
~Seasonings (Nutritional Yeast, Minced Garlic, Italian Seasoning, Salt & Pepper were used in mine but add whatever and however much you like!)
1. Boil pasta in salted water for 12-15 minutes
2. Steam broccoli covered until bright green (about 5 minutes)
3. Saute mushrooms in a skillet on low heat with melted butter for about 5 minutes or until little browned and softened.
4. In a saucepan, add alfredo sauce and seasonings together and stir until well incorporated and warm.
5. Drain pasta and combine with all other ingredients to enjoy fun(gi) dinner!
Getting really into mycology is a new hobby of mine so know that more articles and recipes like this are coming. I love learning about what the Earth has to offer us. I would like to note that we only took a small portion of the mushrooms from the area just for the two of us to eat a meal. You should never take too much from the land for it may destabilize that ecosystem. You MUST be certain about what you are foraging because mushrooms can either heal you or kill you. Nonetheless, I love the idea of eating from forest to table in a way that isn't killing animals!
Anyways, that's enough gushing about mushrooms for today! I hope y'all are doing well and enjoy this recipe. Sending all the love and light from here to there.